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Meet Sophie

Posted on 26 October 2016

When we designed our newest fancy collection, we wanted to blend the warmth of holiday spirit with a cool, contemporary pattern. But we weren't sure what to name the collection. In keeping with our tradition of naming every collection after a historical, boundary-breaking lady, we asked you -- our customers, and the pulse of Dear Kate -- to help us out. Your suggestions were incredible: Michelle (Obama), Rosalind (Franklin), Marilyn (Monroe), and so many more. But one name kept coming up that we just couldn't ignore. So, without further ado, please meet the newest member of Kate's crew...Sophie Germain!

 

 

This one was a no-brainer. Sophie Germain, a 19th-century French mathematician in a time when women just did not do that (the horror!), contributed significantly to elastic theory, number theory, and differential geometry.

 

 

Sophie's inspiration was Archimedes.
As a little girl, she read about Archimedes and decided that she, too, would be a mathematician. Even though her parents took away her fire and bed linens (really), she continued to read as much as she could and eventually her parents relented.

 

She posed as a man to get an education.
When she was 18, she found her first mentor in Legendre, a teacher at the École Polytechnique. She became his mentee when she first submitted a paper under her male pseudonym M. leBlanc. Legendre thought that the paper was so intriguing that he requested he and leBlanc meet. We can only imagine how surprised he was to find that leBlanc was not actually a man.

 

Her second mentor was Gauss.
Sophie's second mentor was the famous mathematician Gauss. She first corresponded with him as M. leBlanc, as well. Although they never met, Sophie did eventually reveal her true identity. Gauss, to his credit, celebrated her "most noble courage, extraordinary talent, and superior genius." We can't argue with that.

 

She didn't stop trying.
In 1809, the Paris Academy of Sciences announced a contest in elastic theory. Sophie set to apply and did so...three times. Did we mention she was also the only applicant all three times she submitted papers to be considered for the prize? In 1816, her third (and final) paper was accepted for the prize and she became the first woman to win a contest at the Academy.

 

So, who better to name our new collection after than a revolutionary woman whose life inspires courage and whose work has made lasting contributions to the very geometry from which our lace is fashioned? Snaps for Sophie. Welcome to the crew.

x Team Kate

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